Be Prepared

A very, very good morning to all my Beloved Believers and Faithful Followers! It’s unusual for me to write a post in the morning, since much of my inspiration comes from tuning in to life in the pub, as you know – not because I enjoy the drink, you understand; I go to the pub simply to find out more about what ordinary people are thinking so that I may help you, Dearest Devotees, live your life as fully as possible in the style of the Lifestyle Support Guru, although you know that you will never quite achieve such greatness.
Today, I wish to advise you on how to deal with the aristocracy, should you happen to meet any. Of course, I have an instinctive inner knowledge of how to behave in the presence of those of both high and low birth. I shall explain.

I had been invited by Radio Derby to go on Ian Skye’s morning show as a ‘Loudmouth’ (following a recommendation by a former student, which may say a lot about my style of teaching…), so I duly turned up at an unearthly hour of the morning (8.40), ready to voice my opinions on young people and Meghan Markle’s father (not together, I hasten to add).
I was shown into an empty waiting room and, shortly afterwards, another person was shown into the room. He came over to me, hand held out, and introduced himself as ‘Richard FitzHerbert’, so I introduced myself as ‘Lifestyle Support Guru’. He seemed suitably impressed… 
Two minutes later, a young chap came into the room and greeted the latest arrival with a cheery ‘Good morning, Sir Richard.’ SIR Richard!
Of course, I maintained my composure, merely contenting myself with a quick curtsey. Sadly, I couldn’t doff my hat because I wasn’t wearing one, but I have learned a sharp lesson – always carry a hat with you in case of the need to doff it. Be Prepared!
I have since learned (via that trusted site, Wikipedia) that Sir Richard Ranulph FitzHerbert, 9th Baronet, of Tissington Hall (well dressings on this week – all welcome) was once a wine merchant – this must be why I felt an immediate affinity with him! 
The programme itself was interesting, especially when a listener – I’ll call him Alan for the sake of anonymity – phoned in to offer his twopenn’orth about young people being ignored by politicians and other such charlatans. He sounded rather old and the conversation went something like this:

Ian Skye: Good morning, Alan. Do you agree that young people’s voices are being ignored?
Alan: Of course, they’re being ignored. They gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars, the young generations.
IS: So, you think they have a fair point?
C: Yes, because of the young generations that gave their lives in the First and Second World wars. They aren’t listened to. They join the army and then they’re sent off to be killed in war, so they’re not listened to.
IS: Thank you very much, Alan.

There was a long, puzzled silence in the studio – even Baronets and radio presenters don’t understand everything – but, as the LSG, I understood fully where Alan was coming from and showed this insight with my comment: ‘I’d like some of what Alan’s been on.’ I had, of course, recognised that Alan had started his royal wedding party celebrations five days early and had clearly broken into a bottle of Lambrusco a little too early in the morning. It’s all about pacing yourself, Alan – believe me, having been on rugby tour weekends, I know what I’m talking about!

I have been invited to be a Loudmouth on a future occasion – put June 21st in your diary! – so I shall Be Prepared for ANY eventuality this time: I will have a hat with me, for doffing appropriately; I may also wear a dress, since it is easier to curtsey in a dress – holding out the sides of your trousers doesn’t have quite the same effect; and, finally, I may have a small hip flask of gin and Dubonnet with me, because I understand that this is the Queen’s preferred pre-lunch tipple and if it’s good enough for Her Maj, I shall certainly make an effort myself. Apparently, she also likes wine with her lunch and champagne in the evening – I may have to up my game…

Enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the day!

Another Career Move

A very good Bank Holiday evening to you all – I hope you have made the most of the sunshine and fine weather. One of my local pubs has already made the most of it by running out of the ‘reassuringly expensive’ lager that next-sibling-down enjoys, even though there’s still another day of the holiday to go, so we have had to repair to the next local along. Luckily, both places stock Sauvignon Blanc, so the Lifestyle Support Guru is not suffering at all.
Tonight, I wish to tell you about my ever-growing CV – quiz-setting, lunching, proofreading, lunching, making people smile (sometimes), lunching, annoying male siblings by talking too much, lunching, and now… MODEL! Yes, I have added MODEL to my list of accomplishments. And it didn’t take a lot of effort or practice to be a model MODEL – to some it just comes naturally and the LSG is the perfect example of that.
I shall set the scene, as usual:
– being a community-minded sort of person, I belong to a couple of local committees (‘community-minded’ is a lie, really – I only belong to them because they meet in the pub), and one of these committees decided to run a charity fashion show (at my suggestion, I’m pleased to say – yet another self-sacrificing suggestion, because, as I’m sure you realise, a fashion show wouldn’t really be to my taste at all…). Volunteer models were required, so, in my usual self-effacing way, I put myself forward as a possibility, along with four or five others. To say that the offer was snapped up would be an understatement, and I like to think that it was because of the LSG’s natural aptitude for modelling rather than through a lack of other volunteers. I also like to think that I was offering to be representative of the curvier end of the modelling spectrum – and this same thought was also clearly reflected by another volunteer in the following conversation:

Other Model: I’ve waxed my legs and put some tanning lotion on them ready for the show.
LSG: Really? I wasn’t thinking of going to those lengths. I’ll just be grateful if they’ve got clothes that will fit me.
OM: Oh, they’re bound to have some that will fit – they need all sizes of models, from ‘C’ over there (pointing to a tiny, incredibly slim committee member who normally wears a size SIX!!) to me and ‘R’ (pointing to herself and the wonderful, amazingly enthusiastic Rachel, who is the Chair of the committee) who can cover the normal/medium sizes; they’ll be bound to have your size and shape as well.

I took a large gulp of wine and smiled sweetly, whilst thinking evil thoughts. Other Model, do not think that you will get away scot free by making such underhand comments…

On the evening itself, there was a HUGE audience – thank goodness I am used to appearing in public and am not fazed by such attention. We were allowed to choose our own outfits, although one of these had to be a dress, a type of garment I haven’t worn since I retired over 7 years ago, but I am prepared to sacrifice my principles for a good cause (and the right size). I sashayed out onto the catwalk, displaying a broad grin (and an even broader behind, probably) and that was my next career launched!
It seemed to me that the most popular garment sold on the night was one that the LSG had modelled – a pink and white striped tunic, which looked lovely with a tan, and in the case of the LSG, a REAL tan, unlike the OM’s bottle tan (which didn’t really show up anyway – she’d left it too late for it to have any impact). Conversely, I didn’t notice lots of people rushing to buy the OM’s choice of dress, although I did persuade her that it looked absolutely delightful on her and she decided to buy it – but sometimes I don’t always tell the WHOLE truth…
Kate Moss, eat your heart out…

(On the plus side – my size! – the evening raised over £600 and the LSG added to her wardrobe, including a rather nice pink and white striped tunic which looks lovely with a tan, but which every other female in the area may also well be wearing!)
Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday.

A Tourist Guide to Cyprus, Part 2

A convivial ‘kalenikta’ (or perhaps that should be ‘Ay oop, me duck’ now that I have returned to more familiar shores) from the Lifestyle Support Guru to all Devoted Devotees (which is what ‘devotees’ should be – devoted) out there this evening. I know there will be many of you waiting with bated breath to hear more about the LSG’s adventures on the beautiful island of Cyprus. However, before I do that, I should like to say a little bit about the Greek language. Many believe that Greek is a difficult language with an incomprehensible alphabet, but the LSG hopes to demystify the whole issue with this handy guide – please feel free to cut it out and keep in your wallet/purse ready for any excursions to Greek-speaking areas of the world such as Athens, Rhodes, Cyprus and Melbourne (Australia, not Derbyshire, although there may be a large Greek-speaking community in Melbourne, Derbyshire, for all I know). All you need to remember is:
b=v; p=r; Λ= l; x= th; Π=p; H=I; and so on – Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, or ‘Εασυ ρεασυ, λεμον σκυεεσυ’, as the Greeks might say.
Anyway, now that you have a working knowledge of the Greek language, I shall continue with my tourist guide to Cyprus. A coach trip to the north of the island is worth the effort, especially if the coach ‘population’ is split between British and Russians – the English-speaking guide was VERY discreet, pointing out RAF Akrotiri, but with no mention of the RAF taking off from there to be part of a recent bombing raid on Syria. However, I have no idea what the Russian-speaking co-guide said – she may have been insulting the rest of us and exhorting the Russians to persuade Putin to press the red button, for all I know!
My main disappointment was finding that my newly-acquired knowledge of Greek served no purpose in the north because it’s Turkish-occupied and, therefore, Turkish-speaking! However, it’s quite exciting going through the UN Buffer Zone and finding yourself in a country which doesn’t officially exist!

Quad and buggy rides offer another means of entertainment, especially if the day out includes an (unplanned and unexpected) off-road visit to Adonis’s Baths and Waterfalls (a sort of Ancient Greek equivalent of a power shower) – all I can say is that, if Adonis had to go all that way to have a bath, and Aphrodite’s Baths were several miles away the other way, I’m surprised they got together at all!

Segway – what can I say? I took to it like a duck to water, of course. I wasn’t the one who had to be guided by the rather gorgeous Dmitri (who was actually from Hull), one hand steering his own Segway, his other on the guiding handle of the Segway of some large, wobbly woman who appeared incapable of balancing properly and seemed to think she was going to fall off at any moment; and when she did get off at the halfway point, she almost fell over because her toes and calf muscles were so tensed up with trying to keep her balance that they almost wouldn’t hold her up (the positive side was that Dmitri had to help her stand up properly). But IT WASN’T ME, of course – it was some other very silly woman!

And my final piece of advice? Try not to go to the same places as Kate Moss – by ‘places’, I mean methods of transport which require you to wear a seat belt – aeroplanes, coaches, quad buggies and suchlike. I find it SO bizarre that, whenever I have to use a seat belt, I always seem to be sitting in the same seat that Kate Moss or a travelling stick insect had occupied previously. But LIFE is full of such strange coincidences, isn’t it, Beloved Believers?

And on that thought, I shall leave you and wish you all a very good Σάββατο βράδυ.

The Traveller’s Guide to Cyprus

A very good evening to you all from Cyprus! Yes, the Lifestyle Support Guru has finally managed to get away on holiday – one can’t count recent visits to York, Huddersfield and Sheffield as ‘holidays’, since they are just classed as ‘moving around oop north for a day or two’, which are not really holidays at all.
This holiday started badly, I’m afraid – the alarm went off at 5.30am a couple of days ago! How can they even let that time exist? The day should always start at something like 8.30am and move sedately on to the evening, allowing for gentle pauses along the way for food and drink, or catching a plane. Nevertheless, younger siblings and I made it safely to the airport where next-sibling-down proceeded to consume a Belgian waffle with chocolate and cream at 7.30 in the morning. I managed a small cup of coffee. Youngest sibling went to the toilet.
But I am sure that you do not wish to read about such mundane happenings, even if they are part of the LSG’s fascinating life – I only tell you these things to make you realise that you, too, can be like the LSG: you may not have a sibling who will eat chocolate waffles at 7.30 in the morning, but you probably have a spouse, a better half, a rock, a soulmate, a child, a friend, a ‘hun, r u ok?’ – ANYONE! – who can fulfil this role. But I digress… having been here for three whole days, I am now an expert on how to blend seamlessly into Cypriot life so that you appear to be a native. So, here it is – the LSG’s Guide to Life as a Cypriot:
On the first morning, the siblings decide to walk down to the harbour but you decline because you have somehow forgotten to bring a small handbag for the evenings (those who know the LSG well will realise that this is an amazing oversight), so you say you will wander to a nearby shopping centre to see what they have to offer. The fact that the walk to the harbour would take up to an hour and the walk to the shops a mere ten minutes has NOTHING to do with this decision.
Imagine your surprise upon entering the shopping centre to find that the first shop is Marks and Spencer! (Actually, that’s a lie – the first shop was Holland and Barrett, but that isn’t classed as a SHOP as such, because how can one get pleasure out of buying vitamins?) You wander in (to M&S, of course, not H&B) – just out of curiosity, you understand – and ask an assistant if they have any small bags, at which point she looks sad and leads you to the ‘bag area’. She was right to look sad – there was a choice of TWO! In fact, two is not even a choice in my mind. She will try her best to sell you a beige bag, but your eye will have already been caught by a rather fetching lime green one. You can almost hear the assistant thinking, ‘We’ve been trying to sell those damn things all year.’ But the LSG is not one to follow the fashions and trends of ordinary people – oh no, if lime green takes her fancy, that is what she will get. AND a rather nice white t-shirt in the sale also happened to jump into the shopping bag – I will swear ON OATH that the same item wasn’t available in the Derby branch of M&S last week.
The next thing to do in your attempt to become a Greek Cypriot is to get a haircut – by a hairdresser from Bradford, of course. By now, no one will ever think you are anything other than a born-and-bred Cypriot, although you draw the line at joining the siblings in learning how to scuba dive…the LSG would not wish to cause any riots by appearing in public in a wetsuit.
A coach tour of the island is, of course, obligatory – especially one that mentions a visit to a winery. Unfortunately, we booked the wrong one and ended up on the tour that visited the church of the tomb of Saint Lazarus, he who was raised from the dead. I must admit to a little shiver down my spine when we went into the crypt and saw an open sarcophagus. I looked quickly around but could spot no obvious 2,000-year-old person loitering in the shadows looking like he’d just come back from the dead, although there are one or two at the hotel who could give a good impression of him.
We also passed the rock in the sea which is reputedly the birthplace of Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman ever known, although the LSG is giving her a good run for her money.
One good thing came out of the ‘raising the dead’ tour – a rather nice lemon hooded jacket jumped out at me in Larnaca (I like to think that Lazarus played a part here – I see him in lemon), just the thing for the evenings, which are still a little chilly – and a lovely contrast to the lime green bag. All that is needed now to make me look like a bowl of citrus fruit is a pair of orange trousers. There may have been some in Marks…
One final (sort of serious) point – Greek Cypriots are incredibly friendly and chatty, but if you say ‘kalimera/kalispera/efkharisto’ at some point, their faces light up with absolute joy!
The LSG is now fully immersed in Cypriot life and could be taken for a native.
The (Welsh) Brit Pack is here and living the dream! Kalenikta!

True Power

A very good evening to you from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I hope you have all had a thoroughly enjoyable Easter break, despite the cold and wet weather – if you have lived in the UK for most of your life, you should now know how to make the most of your time despite any inclement weather (this includes during the now-laughably named ‘summer’). Your house should be filled with ‘rainy day’ items such as Hungry Hippo, Jenga, Operation, Happy Families, Monopoly, the complete works of Shakespeare, a box set of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings and, of course, a lifetime’s subscription to Netflix. Obviously, once you have turned eighteen, all of these can be replaced by going to the pub (where you may find they have most of these items anyway).
It is through my occasional visits to the pub that I have learned what TRUE POWER is. Do not be fooled by men of little worth such as Trump or Putin or Kim Jong-un, who may try to convince the world that they have TRUE POWER simply because they have nuclear (pronounced as ‘nucular’ by some, just as ‘secretary’ becomes ‘sekettri’ and February changes to ‘Febuwari’, or ‘prostate’ to ‘prostrate’ and even ‘ask’ to ‘ax’ – such strange variations!) power. Nuclear power is not TRUE POWER!

So, what is TRUE POWER? I hear you cry in despair!
I sometimes cry in despair, beloved believers – usually when someone is in front of me at the bar placing a large order one drink at a time and then remembering that he also wanted a packet of peanuts, before turning to his friends (it usually is a ‘him’, I’m afraid) and asking, ‘What did your better half want, Hugo? Was it a Campari and soda or a daiquiri?’, to which Hugo replies, ‘I can’t remember. I’ll go and ask her.’ Hugo then returns and says, ‘She’s changed her mind. She’ll have Sex on the Beach, ha ha!’, at which point the whole group guffaws as if they’ve just heard the funniest joke in the world and some wag shouts, ‘Not here she won’t, Hugo – nowhere near the bloody beach, old thing!’, at which they all guffaw again and another wag points out that there’s a pile of workman’s sand over the road by the building site which might do instead and they all chortle merrily once more! By this time, you are ready to string Hugo and his better half up by piano wire after having stabbed the rest of the merry group with the little plastic swords used for putting the fruit into Hugo’s better half’s cocktail. But I digress…
TRUE POWER is going to the pub and:
1. having one of the ‘regular rowdies’ (who are loud but not nasty) tell you that they deliberately stayed in the town pubs the night before (Easter Sunday) because they knew it was your quiz and they didn’t want to disturb it, as they have done before when they’ve had one or two too many ‘sherbet dips’.
2. having the same ‘regular rowdy’ (who has to be in his fifties!) apologising for sitting in ‘your seat’ because he wants to watch the football, and then, when the game finishes, making a point of telling you that you can have ‘your seat’ back!
This is TRUE POWER, dear devotees, and all done without using the ‘death stare’ perfected over many years of teaching. Now I use the ‘I’m just a little old lady’ smile and the ‘I might cry if you’re nasty to me’ trembling lower lip. Works every time! Sleep well, ardent admirers.